The FBHVC monthly report

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The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs represents our interests nationally, fighting for those who enjoy using their Classic Cars.

Robin Astle, our Club's FBHVC representative gives a monthly report on what's going on.

Robin Astle

May 2019

by Robin Astle.

From Press Release and FBHVC Newsletters 2019 No. 2

Press Release - MOT Exemption of Historic Vehicles

Editorial by Geoff Lancaster

Very soon the Federation will be launching its new website. We’ll leave it to you to judge whether it is a successful upgrade, and indeed we welcome any feedback whether by email, letter or through our Facebook channel. In the six years since the site was last overhauled there have been huge leaps in web technology and we hope you agree that the look, feel and ease of use is more what you would expect from a contemporary website. Go to and tell us what you think.

On another tack, Autocar magazine recently ran a feature where their august group of journalists whose respected scribblers name amongst their number Cropley, Tisshaw and Holloway to name but three, where they imagined each was Transport Minister and set out the kind of policies they would pursue. Perhaps they should have kept the feature for 1 April? However, the comment that caught my eye, like a cinder from a steam train, was a comment from Editor, Mark Tisshaw. “Transport Minister”, he wrote, “That’s a job for a career politician on their way up the food chain with a long term eye on No10. I mean, none of them really care about the motorist, do they?”

I really do beg to differ. The All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group, with whom the Federation has a close association, is packed with vehicle enthusiasts. Former ministers, some of them, have owned everything from a De Dion Bouton to a Jensen Interceptor and even a Claas combine harvester (remember, the Federation is a very broad church where the ‘c’ word is banned).

Not interested? I think not Mr Tisshaw!

Finally, I was sorry to learn recently that the National Association of Wedding Car Professionals (NAWCP) has disbanded. NAWCP was particularly involved with the Federation in successfully lobbying government for historic vehicle exemptions in low emission zones. The Federation will continue to protect the former members of NAWCP through their membership of their relevant marque club.

Roadworthiness by Bob Owen


Judged simply by the number of questions from members we receive, it does look as if the roadworthiness testing regime is now settling down.

But the very light touch of the ‘declaration’ process, whether online or with a Form V112 (or V112G) at a Post Office is still causing a few uncertainties in wording and understanding.

However, it is worth noting that now, when you receive a reminder to tax a vehicle in the ‘historic’ tax class, it will contain the following words, which are different from the standard V11. These words are ‘THIS VEHICLE MAY REQUIRE AN APPROPRIATE TEST’ This is different, primarily in the use of the word ‘may’, from the standard V11 wording.

At the moment their Vehicle Enquiry Service simply says, in relation to the MOT, ‘No results returned’. We are intending to present to DVLA shortly our view that there is still potential for them to improve the wording of the VES so that the possibility of the vehicle being MOT exempt is at least identified. The rewording of the V11Z may point out a way forward.

And the information provided by DVSA when you search the MOT History online is incomplete and could possibly lead you astray.

Firstly, if your MOT has expired you get a red warning that you might incur a fine of up to £1000. If you have an exempt vehicle, do not panic!

The warning leads you to what it refers to as ‘MOT Exemption Guidance’.

In fact what you then see is Form V112. This would of course permit declaration that your vehicle is exempt from MOT at a Post Office.

As Guidance however, it is incomplete. It does not reference what one would have thought was now the default process; namely that if you are taxing online there is an equivalent form of declaration of exemption, which is not formally a V112. I am aware that this has misled at least some members, and thus hope this explanation will set minds at rest.

And, as of the date of writing, we are still awaiting a bit more clarity from the police about their understanding, recognition and process of enforcement of the ‘VHI’ exemption.

Specialised Vehicles

There is one area in which some clarity has recently been received. Some members will be aware that as a result of the overall change in roadworthiness testing a number of ‘specialist vehicles’ (I.e. those based upon HGV chassis but modified for certain specific purposes) which used not to be subject to testing, even if modern, have been brought into the realm of testing.

This affects some ‘historic‘ class vehicles. Clearly all built after 1960 will have to be tested in the same way as HGVs.

What was not made clear, but DfT has clarified to the Federation, is that if any such vehicle was built before 1960 it is treated exactly as an HGV; that is to say as long as it has not been substantially modified in the past thirty years, it is a Vehicle of Historic Interest and remains exempt from testing.


This is we think a good place to provide two reminders about MOT exempt ‘historic’ vehicles

(a)If your vehicle has indeed undergone substantial change in the past thirty years, the vehicle is legally not exempt. Neither making an incorrect declaration at the time of taxing the vehicle, or failing to take an MOT test when due will affect the position. You remain at risk.

(b)We all have an ongoing obligation to keep our historic vehicles roadworthy. How we choose to do that, whether by taking a voluntary test or by some other method of inspection, is our judgement for exempt vehicles. Simply assuming everything is OK is not a satisfactory method.


We now have greater clarity on the proposed changes to the EU Insurance Directive. (For clarity I need to restate that we of course do not know whether and to what extent the UK will be following these EU rules in future).

The current position is that the proposals from the Commission to amend the EU Motor Insurance Directive to recognise issues which had arisen, particularly as a result of the ruling of the European Court of Justice in the Vnuk case have now been considered and amended by the European Parliament.

There have been two satisfactory outcomes for the historic vehicle community. One aspect has been widely reported in the pres. The other, arguably of direct interest to more of our members, has not.

The Parliament has introduced amendments on two aspects of compulsory motor insurance of interest to us.

The first concerns competitive events on private land. Parliament is proposing this be excluded from the requirement for insurance, following efforts from the FIA, supported by FIVA.

The second is the position of vehicles which are out of use, e.g. on SORN waiting restoration, or kept in a museum. Following intensive lobbying and drafting work from FIVA of the Single Market Committee (which handles this Directive), the Parliament has also a apropos such vehicles agreed they should be exempted from compulsory insurance.

While there is a final stage of detailed negotiation between the Commission, the EU Parliament, and the EU Council of Ministers, there is currently no good reason to expect these positions not to be maintained into the final Directive. Should this prove to be the case a lot of work, including quite a lot by the writer, will have proved to be worthwhile.

Q Plates

As I write this, we are finalising the examples that I said in the last edition we would be progressing with DVLA. It will be interesting to see how DVLA react to these examples, which the Federation considers are all of vehicles whose identity and age is entirely clear and which therefore ought not to be on Q Plates, but should properly be in the ‘historic’ taxation class.



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